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Police: Online love scam leads investigators to killing plot

August 14, 2018

This undated photo provided by the Wake City-County Bureau of Identification on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, shows Roxanne Reed, 65, of Garner, N.C. She was accused of plotting to kill her 88-year-old mother after police investigated an online romance scam she was involved in. (AP Photo/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An online romance scam led investigators to the discovery that a North Carolina woman with financial problems was plotting to kill her 88-year-old mother to get more money to pay the fraudster, police said.

Roxanne Reed, 65, appeared to be planning the death of her mother, who shared a small house with her, so she could keep sending money to the scammer who was using romantic pretenses to bilk her, Garner Police Capt. Joe Binns said.

“It was related to money,” Binns said Tuesday. “It was all about money, about sending this person money.”

Reed was arrested Sunday and charged with felony conspiracy to commit murder, according to jail records.

Investigators were still piecing together how the mother’s death would have supplied Reed with more cash. Binns said Reed is considered a suspect in other financial frauds but didn’t elaborate.

He didn’t know if Reed, who was held in jail Tuesday, had an attorney. Digital courthouse records didn’t list a lawyer.

Binns said relatives alerted police to concerns that Reed was being scammed by someone using a false identity to woo her. Binns said Reed described plans to kill her mother in text messages to the online scammer.

Investigators haven’t determined who or where the scammer is, but an arrest warrant indicates the person was falsely using the name of a physical therapist and business owner in Texas. The likeness of that man has been used without his knowledge in multiple online scams, Binns said.

“This is a poor guy who lives in Texas somewhere that has nothing to do with anything, and apparently he’s been victimized multiple times — somebody using his name, his picture or his information,” Binns said.

The Texas man said in an email he was traveling Tuesday and didn’t have time to do an interview.

A relative identified as a witness in court records, Mason Reed, declined to comment when reached by phone. Mason Reed, whose primary address is in Maryland, is listed in county property records as the owner of the approximately 1,000-square-foot (93-square-meter), 1-story house where the women lived in the town south of Raleigh.

Court records indicate Roxanne Reed filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and was in the process of paying off debt through a plan approved by a judge. The records, which match Reed’s current address and other information, say she was single and unemployed but had income from social security and worker’s compensation. The bankruptcy filing listed about $30,000 in debt from credit card purchases and a personal loan.

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Follow Drew on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JonathanLDrew

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